Recent viewing, uplifting and depressing

On Sunday while still recuperating I watched the movies on GEM. What a good choice they offered! First:


Yes, Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – one cannot overstate how good this still is! Next something completely different:


David Lean’s 1984 A Passage to India, based on my favourite E M Forster novel. The bum note I think was Sir Alec Guinness being cast as the Brahmin Professor Godbole. I hadn’t seen the movie before. Those locations! Amazing.

Later on Sunday I happened while switching channels to see Founders of ‘anti-Islamic’ group Reclaim Australia make first television appearance on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night. Having recently read the excellent Fascist Voices : An Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy by Christopher Duggan I was instantly struck by the similarity of style, tactics and concerns between the two groups. And worse, because on reflection last night’s 7.30 item Teen member of Islamic State group suspected of Parramatta Shooting tells its inside story confirmed that in his case the epithet “Islamofascist” is actually quite apt. A sane Australia needs none of the binary nonsense either offers. The Fascists too were obsessed with degeneration and a desire to make their idealised “patria” great again; many of their violent street supporters were teenagers.

SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Do you think it was a tragedy for Curtis Cheng?
ANONYMOUS [teenage] ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Of course it is a tragedy. He’s still working with the police government, so he’s part for him.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Why are you finding it so hard to say that the murder of Curtis Cheng was a tragedy for him and his family?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Because they don’t say anything about the Muslims, so why should I say – why should I please them, you know? Why should I please the kafir – the disbelievers? Why should I show that, oh, yeah, I care about them? Which I don’t.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: This teenager’s commitment to a brutal holy war against what he sees as the sins of the West is unrelenting.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: There’s no other law except Allah’s law. People that smoke drugs, there’s no cigarettes, there’s no alcohol, there’s no brothels, there’s no clubbing – all shut down. That’s what we want. Stop the bombing overseas, stop killing our Muslims and then war will be over.

Fortunately 7.30 followed with this:

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Ed Husain is a well-respected expert on counter-radicalisation, holding the title of senior adviser in the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. But 20 or so years ago when he was a teenager, he was a lot like the youth in that story. He fell in with the wrong crowd and embrace radical Islam, but eventually came out of it through the influence of genuine Islamic scholars and teachers. He’s now one of the world’s most respected authorities on this subject and he joined me a short time ago from London to share what he knows…

LEIGH SALES: So practically, how do countries like Australia and the UK try to deliver that message in a way that’s going to cut through to the type of 12-year-olds to 18-year-olds who are targeted by this IS message?
ED HUSAIN: Leigh, there are several things that need to be done. First and foremost, whether it’s your prime minister or whether it’s your political parties, a clear message needs to be sent out across these communities from Muslim leaders and others that these are sons of the soil, that they are in fact Australians as anybody else, that they belong here, that Australia is their home.
They shouldn’t have this dichotomy that they don’t belong in Australia, but they belong elsewhere.
So that’s the first message, that they are sons of the soil. Once that’s recognised, the second point to understand for all of us, especially those who have a more secular, materialist world view, that what we’re seeing here is the playing out of an intra-faith problem within some Muslim communities.
This young gentleman embraced Sunni Salafism. The message has to be clear from a religious, political, public sector, private sector, civil society and others that this form of modernised, extremist, confrontational Islam has no place in Australia or anywhere in the world, and it’s upon us, Muslims and non-Muslims who are committed to human survival, to eradicate that in our midst. And the third is to explain to them what is often not explained, that the history of the modern world is not one which is at odds with Islam.
There is no clash of civilisations against these young people. For as long as we don’t open up the philosophical, historical, religious debate which underpins this extremism through religious leaders and through political leaders and through holding up better role models for them, we will continue to be at odds with this young group of people in our midst…